Despite being vilified for selective graft war and facing possible removal by some influential presidential aides, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has said that he is ready to prosecute the war to the end and give the nation a new lease of life. Magu has ruled out the possibility of sparing any corrupt person in the fight, claiming that any Nigerian who commits an economic crime must pay for it.
“There is no sacred cow as far as this fight against corruption is concerned. We will go after anybody who has committed an offence. We will collect the money back, so that it will go back to the treasury and be used for the original purposes.
“I don’t care whether you’re black or white or you come from party A or Party B; the moment it can be established that you have stolen from the public treasury, we will go after you. Even right here [in EFCC], if we discover that you’re corrupt, we will kick you out. And we are already doing that. So we don’t go after innocent people. We are going after the thieves of state resources.
The chairman expressed concern over the activities of banks in money laundering pointing out that the use of what bankers call ‘private banking’ has provided a favourable window for top politicians to launder huge sums of public funds. He said he had already taken up the matter with the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor and other bankers with a view to ending that floodgate of looting.
He said: “We had a discussion with the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and I insisted that this so-called private banking should be stopped. It is illegal. It is wrong.
“We are not only going after the personnel of the banks but also after the banks. What happens is that when a staff of the bank is involved in such activities, what the bank does is to take the person out of the system through dismissal. But now, we are going to go after the banks and the personnel used to perpetrate the fraud. It takes two to tango. In fact, very soon you will see us going after the Managing Directors of the banks. We don’t care what happens because the right thing has to be done. These people have given a lot of room for the money laundering activities to thrive. They were used to hide all the stolen money
“The Halliburton scandal investigation is on. There were some arrangements that some very senior lawyers were involved. We are investigating every day.”